Techniques and instrumentation

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Implementation of digital electronics into fibres can enable real time monitoring of human physiological functions. Loke et al. show how digital functionalities can be incorporated into thin flexible polymeric fibre strands and applied for on-body machine-learning and intelligent textiles.

    • Gabriel Loke
    • , Tural Khudiyev
    •  & Yoel Fink
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Creating predictable, controllable nanoparticles relies on a mechanistic understanding of their synthesis. Here, through integrated in situ liquid microscopy and first-principles calculations, the authors elucidate the atomistic details involved in the formation of colloidal core-shell nanoparticles.

    • Wenpei Gao
    • , Ahmed O. Elnabawy
    •  & Miaofang Chi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In-situ methods are important for investigating the local structure and function in molecular nanostructures but such investigations often involve laborious labeling methods that can disrupt behavior or are not fast enough to capture stimuli-responsive phenomena. Here, the authors use X-rays resonant with molecular bonds to demonstrate an in-situ nanoprobe that eliminates the need for labels and enables data collection times within seconds.

    • Terry McAfee
    • , Thomas Ferron
    •  & Brian A. Collins
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) combines the high tissue penetration of X-rays with specificity to periodic nanostructures. The authors use SAXS tensor tomography (SAXS-TT) on intact mouse and human brain tissue samples, to quantify myelin levels and determine myelin integrity, myelinated axon orientation, and fibre tracts non-destructively.

    • Marios Georgiadis
    • , Aileen Schroeter
    •  & Markus Rudin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    While rheology studies have contributed to the understanding of the viscoelastic properties of living cells, the use of higher frequencies promises elucidate the link between cellular and molecular properties. Here authors introduce a rheological assay that measures the cell mechanical response across a continuous frequency range ≈ 1 – 40 kHz.

    • Gotthold Fläschner
    • , Cosmin I. Roman
    •  & Daniel J. Müller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Nguyen et al. take a fresh look at Tesla’s concept of an asymmetric fluidic conduit. They show that for alternating flow at high frequencies the device can almost be operated as a diode, enabled by a transition to turbulent-like flow at rather low Reynolds numbers.

    • Quynh M. Nguyen
    • , Joanna Abouezzi
    •  & Leif Ristroph
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The broken-symmetry edge states that are the hallmark of the quantum Hall effect in graphene have eluded spatial measurements. Here, the authors spatially map the quantum Hall broken-symmetry edge states using atomic force microscopy and show a gapped ground state proceeding from the bulk through to the quantum Hall edge boundary.

    • Sungmin Kim
    • , Johannes Schwenk
    •  & Joseph A. Stroscio
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The competition between the formation of different phases and their kinetics need to be clearly understood to make materials with on-demand and multifaceted properties. Here, the authors reveal, by a combination of complementary in situ techniques, the mechanism of a Cu-Zr-Al metallic glass’s high propensity for metastable phase formation, which is partially through a kinetic mechanism of Al partitioning.

    • Jiri Orava
    • , Shanoob Balachandran
    •  & Ivan Kaban
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A recent report on electrostatic field effect in superconducting devices provides a high potential for advanced quantum technology, but it remains controversial. Here, the authors report that the suppression of critical current, which was attributed to the field effect, can instead be explained by quasiparticle excitations in the constriction of superconducting devices.

    • I. Golokolenov
    • , A. Guthrie
    •  & V. Tsepelin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Gamma photons used in positron emission tomography are predicted to be produced in an entangled state. Here, the authors simulate the effects of entanglement and test them through comparison with experimental data from a PET demonstrator apparatus, showing the potential gains in background suppression.

    • D. P. Watts
    • , J. Bordes
    •  & N. A. Zachariou
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Turbulence effects explored use macroscale systems in general. Here the authors generate a turbulent plasma using laser irradiation of a solid target and study the dynamics of the plasma flow at the micron-scale by using scattering of an XFEL beam.

    • G. Rigon
    • , B. Albertazzi
    •  & M. Koenig
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Previous work has demonstrated electric-field detection with nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond; however, nanoscale electric-field imaging has not been shown. Here, the authors use individual nitrogen-vacancy centers to map out electric field contours from a tip of an atomic force microscope with 10 nm resolution.

    • Ke Bian
    • , Wentian Zheng
    •  & Ying Jiang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Self-healing hydrogels can mimic the damage repair behaviour of living tissues, but such hydrogels have only been processed via extrusion-based additive manufacturing technology. Here, the authors demonstrate a rapidly self-healing hydrogel which can be processed by DLP printing.

    • Matteo Caprioli
    • , Ignazio Roppolo
    •  & Shlomo Magdassi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Intrinsic mechanical properties of sub-100 nm thin films are markedly difficult to obtain, yet an ever-growing necessity for emerging fields such as soft organic electronics. Here, the authors present a shear motion assisted transfer technique for fabricating free-standing sub-100 nm thin films and measuring their inherent structural–mechanical properties.

    • Luke A. Galuska
    • , Eric S. Muckley
    •  & Xiaodan Gu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In order to develop perovskite nanocrystals as a single-photon source, there is a need to understand the complex exciton photo-physics. Here, the authors employ resonant and near-resonant excitation technique to study single CsPbI3 nanocrystal that allows them to probe the continuous and size-quantised acoustic-phonon modes.

    • Yan Lv
    • , Chunyang Yin
    •  & Min Xiao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Space charges or injected charges dominate the ferroelectric degradation, however, its physics insight remains unclear. Here, the authors reveal the nature of ferroelectric degradation in nanodevices and the role of the injected charges in polarization reversal.

    • Qianwei Huang
    • , Zibin Chen
    •  & Xiaozhou Liao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Van der Waals (vdW) magnets have allowed researchers to explore the two dimensional limit of magnetisation; however experimental challenges have hindered analysis of magnetic domains. Here, using an NV centre based probe, the authors analyse the nature of magnetic domains in the vdW magnet, CrBr3.

    • Qi-Chao Sun
    • , Tiancheng Song
    •  & Jörg Wrachtrup
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Polarimetry provides information about physical characteristics of cometary dust. Here, the authors show that the polarization of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov exceeds the typical values for comets, and this together with its polarimetrically homogenous coma suggests a more pristine nature of the object.

    • S. Bagnulo
    • , A. Cellino
    •  & M. Devogèle
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Precise determination of surface atomic structure of metallic nanoparticles is key to unlock their surface/interface properties. Here the authors introduce a neural network-assisted atomic electron tomography approach that provides a three-dimensional reconstruction of metallic nanoparticles at individual atom level.

    • Juhyeok Lee
    • , Chaehwa Jeong
    •  & Yongsoo Yang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Determining the orientation of nanoscale objects in three-dimensional space has typically required complicated optical setups. Here, the authors develop a simple method to retrieve the 3D orientation of luminescent, lanthanide-doped nanorods from a single-shot emission spectrum.

    • Jeongmo Kim
    • , Reinaldo Chacón
    •  & Thierry Gacoin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Low secretion rates and evaporation pose challenges for collecting resting thermoregulatory sweat for non-invasive analysis of body physiology. Here the authors present wearable microfluidics-based patches for continuous sweat monitoring at rest that enable detection of pH, Cl, and levodopa for dynamic sweat analysis related to routine activities, stress events, hypoglycemia-induced sweating, and Parkinson’s disease.

    • Hnin Yin Yin Nyein
    • , Mallika Bariya
    •  & Ali Javey
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Electrical nano-sensors hold promise for biofluid interrogation, but their performance is still below the state of the art. Here, self-powered monolayer graphene microelectrodes are shown to enable real-time interrogation of whole-blood flows with 6-month stability and sub-micron/second resolution.

    • Xiaoyu Zhang
    • , Eric Chia
    •  & Jinglei Ping
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Pressure sensors with high sensitivity and large pressure range is crucial to their various applications in electronic engineering. Here, Wang et al. propose a new design based on a ternary nanocomposite material and show high pressure sensitivity of 680 kPa−1 and fast response of 10 ms up to 150 kPa.

    • Xiu-man Wang
    • , Lu-qi Tao
    •  & ChingPing Wong
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here, the authors present photonic resonator interferometric scattering microscopy, which utilises a dielectric photonic crystal as the sample substrate. The resonant near-field enhancement leads to improved signal to noise ratio without increasing illumination intensity.

    • Nantao Li
    • , Taylor D. Canady
    •  & Brian T. Cunningham
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The electrical conductivity is critical to understand warm dense matter, but the accurate measurement is extremely challenging. Here the authors use multi-cycle THz pulses to measure the conductivity of gold foils strongly heated by free-electron laser, determining the individual contributions of electron-electron and electron-ion scattering.

    • Z. Chen
    • , C. B. Curry
    •  & S. H. Glenzer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Structured illumination microscopy is usually limited to 2 times spatial resolution improvement over the diffraction limit. Here, the authors introduce a metamaterial structure to generate speckle-like sub-diffraction limit illumination patterns in the near field, and achieve a 7-fold resolution improvement down to 40 nm.

    • Yeon Ui Lee
    • , Junxiang Zhao
    •  & Zhaowei Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Monitoring the nucleation of dendrites in Li-ion batteries during cell cycling is important for the development of new electrochemical materials. Here, the authors use the spectral-spatial mode in electron paramagnetic resonance imaging to visualize the spatial distribution of metallic sub-micrometric lithium structures.

    • Charles-Emmanuel Dutoit
    • , Mingxue Tang
    •  & Elodie Salager
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Plasma fusion devices like tokamaks are important for energy generation but there are many challenges for their steady state operation. Here, the authors show that full divertor detachment is compatible with high-confinement high-poloidal-beta core plasmas and this prevents the damage to the divertor target plates and the first wall.

    • L. Wang
    • , H. Q. Wang
    •  & J. B. Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There is a clinical need to monitor immune-related toxicities of immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Here, the authors develop a digital SERS platform for multiplexed single cytokine counting to track immune-toxicities and demonstrate the ability to use pre-screening to identify patients at higher risk.

    • Junrong Li
    • , Alain Wuethrich
    •  & Matt Trau
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Monitoring of cerebral function in human neonates remains challenging. Here, the authors propose a bedside monitoring technique using functional ultrasound to identify markers of cerebral activity based on intrinsic functional connectivity for early brain function monitoring.

    • Jerome Baranger
    • , Charlie Demene
    •  & Mickael Tanter
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The resonating valence bond state is a spin-liquid state where spins continuously alter their singlet partners. Here Yang et al. use spin-1/2 atoms precision-placed by a scanning tunnelling microscope to create artificial quantum magnets exhibiting the resonating valence bond state.

    • Kai Yang
    • , Soo-Hyon Phark
    •  & Christopher P. Lutz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The obtention and study of actinide elements is challenging due to various factors including their radioactivity and scarcity. Herein, the authors characterize the atomic and electronic structure of Am, Cm, Bk, and Cf compounds using a transmission electron microscopy-based workflow that only requires nanogram amounts of the actinide element.

    • Alexander Müller
    • , Gauthier J.-P. Deblonde
    •  & Andrew M. Minor
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Single-molecule fluorescence currently requires specialized imaging equipment due to the low signal of a single emitter. Here the authors introduce NanoAntennas with Cleared HOtSpots (NACHOS) to boost the signal sufficient for detection of a single emitter by a smartphone, opening the door to point-of-care applications.

    • Kateryna Trofymchuk
    • , Viktorija Glembockyte
    •  & Philip Tinnefeld
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Interactions of dislocations with coherent twin boundaries contribute to strength and ductility in metals, but investigating the interaction mechanisms is challenging. Here the authors unravel these mechanisms through quantitative in-situ transmission electron microscopy observations in nickel bi-crystal samples under tensile loading.

    • Vahid Samaee
    • , Maxime Dupraz
    •  & Hosni Idrissi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In this manuscript, Finco et al demonstrate the use of a quantum magnetometer based on a single NV centre for all-optical imaging of antiferromagnetic (AFM) spin textures. By exploiting variations of the NV spin relaxation rate, they succeed in imaging AFM domain walls and skyrmions.

    • Aurore Finco
    • , Angela Haykal
    •  & Vincent Jacques
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Spatial differentiation is a form of optical computation which has applications in image processing. Here, the authors exploit nontrivial topological charges in the transfer function to realise broadband isotropic two-dimensional differentiation.

    • Tengfeng Zhu
    • , Cheng Guo
    •  & Shanhui Fan